Joel Miller Quote

“What we have to remember is that not everything is under our control. If people are free in any meaningful sense of the word, that means they are at liberty to foul up their lives as much as make something grand of them. That's a gamble we all take. That's the risk of liberty. Nobody wants others to screw up their lives, but each must be free to do so for themselves.”

~ Joel Miller

his book, Bad Trip: How the War against Drugs Is Destroying America, 2005

Ratings and Comments

Joe, Rochester, MI

Making our own decisions IS freedom. I don't take drugs because the law says not to, I don't take drugs because I have better ways to spend my money and drugs could kill me. I swear by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another person, nor ask another to live for mine!

jim abbott, montgomery center VT

the war on drugs is moralistic, controlling, and deceitful. It has created the greatest schism of mistrust in this country between the government and the people.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Amen, and Amen.

Me Again
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Me Again    4/23/08

Free Will is what this quote is all about.

J Carlton, Calgary

The war on drugs is just another political soap box. Education, not prosecution, is the key

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Unfortunately many feel that a few "bad eggs" do screw up their lives, such as prostitutes, drug dealers, and porno vendors, molesters on the internet. Most of us do like to see clean and pleasant streets with well dressed and respectable people. Restaurants etc. do have dress codes etcetera. Screw up your life if you will but keep it from affecting the rest of us and keep it out of sight.

jim k, austin, tex

Tell that to the Libs who run this country.They seem to think that if we just turn our money and our lives over to them, everything will be just peachy.

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RobertSRQ    4/23/08

I'm a lib and proud of it. Jim, in actual fact you couldn't have expressed my feeling more eloquently. Yes, indeed give us your money and your lives will be peachy. Just look at out economy today, money you have given has made your life hell. The trillions we have given have achieved zilch, zilch, in fact it’s made matters worse, much worse. The list is impressive but I would hate to bore my fellow bloggers.

StanLee, South Dakota

"that means they are at liberty to foul up their lives" Really? At what point then does the liberty to foul up there own lives become detrimental to our society therefore our nation. "Liberty is a word which, according as it is used, comprehends the most good and the most evil of any in the world. Justly understood it is sacred next to those which we appropriate in divine adoration; but in the mouths of some it means anything, which enervate a necessary government; excite a jealousy of the rulers who are our own choice, and keep society in confusion for want of a power sufficiently concentered to promote good." -- Oliver Ellsworth My childrens' rights as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and drafted in the Declaration of Independence include the right to be safe in their homes and in the public the fruit cakes on drugs are violating these rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. I should not have to worry about some drugged up moron running over my child as she rides her bike down the bike path. Which is exactly what has happened to four small children recently here in our state. I should not have to worry about some stupid dope fiend shooting up the neighborhood at some drug party gone wrong which is exactly what happened not two blocks from my home my children could have been hit from a stray bullet. Maybe the War on Drugs is not properly executed in the US but until drugs are gone from our society we MUST do something!!! We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

E Archer, NYC

While I empathize with StanLee's experience, his is not the norm. Have we been brought to such degradation that if someone drowns we should declare it illegal to swim? Or if someone tonight gets drunk (as will a million other people) but hits someone with his car we will declare alcohol to be illegal? Or someone injures himself while cleaning their gun, so we declare guns illegal? Welcome to the world -- there will be deceivers of all kinds -- personally a prostitute is hardly as dangerous as an unlimited credit line -- each are temptations with social impacts. If we expect to rid ourselves of temptations, it should be part of our honor and moral code, not something 'required by law.' Legislation cannot tell us what to do, only what we may not do -- otherwise what limit will government observe when it comes to telling everyone what they must do? Drug addition is a health problem with many modalities for treatment -- throwing taxpayers with families, jobs, responsibilities, etc, into jail because they got caught smoking a joint while millions of Americans get away with it everyday is an injustice. Give it a rest, do-gooders. People have to take responsibility some time -- stop blaming drugs.

J Carlton, Calgary

E Archer, I enjoy your view here. Maybe we should have signs on the inside of our front doors that say. "Caution, The world you are about to enter may have adult content and could be detrimental to your health. Personal discretion is advised" (People should already know that anyway.)

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Archer your line about prosecuting one who got caught while millions got away is a specious argument. Did your mother or father ever tell you "I don't care what the other kids are doing, YOU are not going to do it." Police and law enforcement are limited in what they can do but that does not mean they should not do anything.

E Archer, NYC

Waffler, our government is NOT our parents -- got it?! Sheesh, enough already with this idea that government is a beneficent parent -- that makes us nothing but wards of the state. Government is POWER and like fire it must be kept in bounds. It is a necessary evil, and the only thing we should allow it to do is protect our rights, not compel certain behaviors. The drug laws are racist in their inception -- and the prison populations demonstrate that while white people smoke pot as much as any other segment of society, blacks and Hispanics comprise the majority of prison populations. Why has GWB not spent a single day in jail for all the cocaine he snorted? And all the people who go to rehab who never got caught -- shouldn't they go to jail for all the drugs they did? And who is the victim when someone sits in their easy chair and inhales a little cannabis to relax? Should they instead buy Valium or Prozac like good little citizens (which are far more dangerous than pot)? And where does the federal government get the authority to declare a plant to be illegal and its possession a criminal offense -- where in the Constitution is that power, in what jurisdiction is this statute? If it is a commercial regulation, then there can be NO criminal penalties (which is why a Tax Act was passed to 'criminalize' marijuana). The drug laws in this country are de facto and are enforced selectively to get politicans elected to office. The Emperor Wears No Clothes!

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

That is not what I said Archer, I said just because we have unsolved murders does not mean we should not solve and prosecute the ones that we can and any other crime. You hear and read only what you wish to Archer.

warren, olathe

StanLee, South Dakota well said. It is the conflict between ideology and reality isn't it? The quote is dead on in philosophy but in reality it has some problems in application. We must give both their due. You can not say that we must let a person foul up their life by robbing banks now can you.

Mike, Norwalk

StanLee, it is obvious you do not comprehend or accept the difference between natural law, related order, justice and liberty; and the now infesting form - legal positivism, despotic impelling, theocratic enforcement and tyranny. The word “safe”, neither appears in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. The closest to “safe”, is “safety”. Safety, appears once in the Constitution: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” (Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 Constitution); and, safety appears once in the Declaration of Independence; “organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness” (Declaration of Independence - concerning ordering of the law, not the law itself; at a national level, not a local level). Both references to “safety” do not address individual sovereigns but rather, are to a body politic juristic setting on a national level (not addressing a State’s administration of Liberty (“⋯ acting within the limits of the law of nature, and so as not to interfere with an equal exercise of the same rights by other men.” (Blacks Law Dictionary 1st ed.)) or a State’s application of justice (distributive, commutative or otherwise). I believe your socialistic miss-reference to safe was a use of or derived from “secure”. Again, that reference is used in conjunction with a limitation on servant representatives.

Your question: “At what point then does the liberty to foul up there own lives become detrimental to our society therefore our nation” reeks of a socialistic theocracy’s non-acceptance of natural law, related order, justice and liberty and an ignorance concerning individual sovereignty. It is justice that defines when your rights end at my nose. Justice is an individual matter between individuals. Social or national justice are oxymorons. By way of example; social justice would demand the Jews in Nazi concentration camps be tried along side the Nuremberg Trials’ defendants (all were part of the German social system). Applied social justice is a heinous form of double jeopardy.

The word “guarantee” only shows up once in the Constitution. At Article IV, Section 4 “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,”; again, directed at the national body politic, not an individual. The Constitution guarantees no rights, it only references a few (by way of example, see the 9th and 10th Amendments thereto). The “Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” You should read it and know the liberty and justice for all that it was based on.

E Archer, NYC

Well said, Mike.

cal, lewisville, tx

I once met a 20 year old on federal disability because he fried his mind on drugs. I don't mind what folks do to themselves, but can't we get rid of these federal aid programs which force us to pay the consequences of their actions.

TexianAmerican, Republic of Texas

The Freedom for anyone to make whatever they want with their life is God Given, so those who steal that freedom offend HIM first. I see two kinds of people who try to control others: The self-serving quasi-Government (for monetary gain) and Christians (for personal pride, hiding their own hearts). SHAME on both. But! I do not take my complaints about their offenses to them. I take my complaints to Him, and Leave Them there for HIM to address. HE knows the best way to fix everything, and cares more than anyone can imagine, and He is actively handling matters. Some, who have eyes to see that, can rest there.

Patrick Henry, Red Hill

"Without liberty, law loses its nature and its
name, and becomes oppression.
Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness."

~ James Wilson


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